After over a month of studying abroad in Sydney, my roommates and I prepared for a break in classes. We had a week off from classes and decided to venture to one of the most beautiful places in Australia, The Whitsundays in Queensland. We could not wait to experience the unbelievably clear water on our skin and the shockingly white sand between our toes.

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How can you not fall in love with this place? Photo by author, Sarah Gloninger, University of Pittsburgh

Arlie Beach

Airlie beach was full of amazing nightlife from the lively outdoor bar at our hostel to the eclectic and vibrant Mama Africa. Airlie beach has a main street full of shopping, enormous public pools right on the oceanfront, and access to all of the Whitsunday Islands.

Airlie Beach
Airlie Beach – photo by author, Sarah Gloninger, University of Pittsburgh

Whitehaven Beach

On our second day we took a Camira Sailing Adventure boat out to sail the Whitsundays and snorkel on a beautiful reef. However, the best part of sailing on the Camira, was the pit stop we made at the beach with crystals for sand: Whitehaven Beach. We were given an hour to float in the crystal blue water, lay on the pure white sand, and soak up the sun. It was one of the most spectacular things I have ever experienced.

The beautiful Whitehaven Beach captured by TAN Alum, Teegan Innis, University of Rhode Island
The beautiful Whitehaven Beach captured by TAN Alum, Teegan Innis, University of Rhode Island

Daydream Island

The next day we took a ferry that brought us to Daydream Island and Hamilton Island. Being able to walk around Daydream Island felt like we were on a glamorous vacation. We walked on wooden boards through lush trees passing hammocks and beautiful restaurants. Finally we reached a beautiful pool atop a hill overlooking the glowing blue water. We swam for over an hour, grabbed a bite to eat at a small food place right next to the pool, and got back on the Ferry to head to our final destination, Hamilton Island.

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Day Dream Island – photo by author, Sarah Gloninger, University of Pittsburgh

Hamilton Island

On Hamilton Island we went parasailing and got to overlook some of the bluest water I have ever seen. It was unbelievably enjoyable and afterwards we browsed the shops on the island. One store stood out in particular being the Hamilton Island Art Gallery. Inside this gallery were walls adorned with beautiful, eclectic seascapes and vibrant artwork around every corner. What made this gallery truly special was the artist in the back room working on a painting, open for all to see. This gallery was breathtaking and yet still managed to feel homey. My roommates and I all made a purchase. It was an incredible way to end our day on Hamilton Island.

View from Hamilton Island by Sarah Lowum, Clemson University

I thought The Whitsundays are breathtaking and easy to navigate. They are a must for all studying abroad in Australia.

Sarah Gloninger is a TEAN program alum and student at the University of Pittsburgh. She studied abroad with TEAN in Sydney, Australia